Learn about the aquatic plant Red Rotala Rotundifolia – How to grow Red Rotala Rotundifolia

Red Rotala rotundifolia is a variation of the popular Rotala rotundifolia aquatic plant that is known for its vibrant red color. Like its green counterpart, it is native to Southeast Asia and is known for its small, round leaves that grow in a compact, bushy form.

One of the main differences between Red Rotala rotundifolia and the regular Rotala rotundifolia is its coloration. The red coloration is caused by a higher concentration of pigments called anthocyanins, which are produced in response to high light intensity and CO2 levels. This plant requires high lighting and CO2 injection to maintain its red coloration.

In terms of growth and care, Red Rotala rotundifolia is relatively easy to maintain, similar to the regular Rotala rotundifolia. It requires a moderate to high lighting, consistent supply of CO2 and fertilizers that are rich in iron and other micronutrients, and a temperature range of 72-78°F.

It is a fast-growing plant and easy to propagate like the regular Rotala rotundifolia. It is also known for its tendency to grow taller than its initial height, so it’s important to prune it regularly to keep it at a preferred height.

Red Rotala rotundifolia is a great choice for hobbyists who are looking to add a splash of color to their aquarium and it can be paired with other aquatic plants to create a dynamic and visually interesting aquarium. It can be used as a background plant, in the middle ground or foreground as well.

Important contributors to a successful outcome:

  • Sufficient light (starting in the medium range and going higher) to produce a decent coloring
  • Avoid extreme water parameters (high alkalinity or uncycled tanks)

How to make it redder:

  • Stronger light (higher PAR values)
  • nitrate levels of five parts per million or below, while keeping all other parameters at a high level

It is one of the plants that display redder hues under nitrate restriction, which means that the plant grows much redder if it is starved for nitrates. Rotala Rotundifolia is one of the species that does this. If you do this too much, the plant will get stunted.

On the other hand, in comparison to other types of plants, it is exceptionally tolerant to nitrogen deficiency. When you decide to keep the nitrate levels in a tank at a low level, you should be sure to pick a variety of plants that are able to adjust effectively to circumstances of low dosing.

About this page, you’ll find additional information on the lean dosing method. In terms of coloring, it is more sensitive to the amounts of NO3 in the water column than, for example, it is to the levels of ammonia in the substrate zone.

The bushes that have the finest appearance overall are those that have a little amount of ammonicial nitrogen in their rootzone in addition to maintaining a water column with a low level of nitrates (NO3). When there is an insufficient amount of nitrogen in the substrate as well as the water column, it may cause plants to be thin and have a significantly reduced amount of branching, which makes it difficult to build thick bushes.

Those who are interested in evaluating the quality of their water may find that the Seachem nitrate test kit provides results with a little greater degree of accuracy for low NO3 concentrations.

You can see Rotala H’ra illuminated by the Twinstar S series in the photo that may be seen below. Inducing hues as dark as red requires a significant limiting of nitrates, and such a limitation must be so severe that NO3 levels almost register as 0. It should be noted that there is not a great deal of branching, and the overall bush density is about average.


Remove the top few inches of the plant by cutting them off, and then replant them. The inter-nodes on the stem that was left behind will eventually give rise to new shoots. If the first plant was healthy, you may chop off the bulk of the plant while leaving the stems a couple of inches in height, and new shoots will still emerge from there. If the initial plant was unhealthy, you cannot cut off the majority of the plant.

Even if you desire a bush with many side shoots, you should still space the stems of the plant at least half an inch apart when planting it. Even if you want to have a thick canopy at the upper levels, there should still be sufficient room in the lower layers.


Rotala rotundifolia responds well to pruning and may be trained to create thick bushes. It is possible to repeatedly prune it for several cycles before it is necessary to transplant it with tops that are healthier. Because of this, it is highly beneficial for aquascaping, a kind of landscaping that requires the ridge line to be maintained at a certain height for aesthetic reasons.

You should begin trimming your Rotala rotundifolia tops around 4 inches below the ultimate height you want them to be at. This is the recommended starting point. (unless you planted your Rotala rotundifolia very sparingly to begin with, then pruning farther down will allow for additional branching and density to come up.) As the tops grow out, cut off the ones that grow quicker than the others; doing so enables the shoots below to branch and causes the canopy to build density as it rises higher.

After the canopy has been grown to the appropriate height, you should continue to thin it down by removing the branches with the highest shoots and letting new growth take their place. This is something that must be done on a very consistent basis (every 3 days or so). If the canopy as a whole grows after an extended period of time during which it was not trimmed, then you will need to do a reset in the same manner as described previously, which involves cutting the bush down to a much lower level and then allowing it to grow back out again.

In the same way as carpets need regular trimming to remain in good condition over time, hedges too need regular pruning. Growing the tank under poor circumstances not only slows down plant development in general but also minimizes the amount of trimming that has to be done.

The older undergrowth will, over a period of time measured in months, decline to the point where it is no longer healthy. After that, you should give the top some room to expand downward, and then transplant the bush in its whole.

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